HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

South Pointe remains unbeaten even without stars

South Pointe Stallions stay tough even with stars missing

bmccormick@heraldonline.comOctober 6, 2012 

Get healthy or get tough. That’s the two options facing South Pointe’s football team.

Friday night there wasn’t much they could do about the former, so the Stallions got tough, knocking off Nation Ford 43-14 to stay unbeaten on the season. Strait Herron’s team was missing its two biggest stars in quarterback Devin Pearson and defensive tackle Zeek Rodney, but it hardly mattered as junior Davonta Blake stepped in under center and barely missed a beat, while the South Pointe (7-0, 3-0) defense intercepted Nation Ford (5-2, 2-1) six times to stymie the Falcons’ high-flying offense.

“I was worried all week,” said Herron, whose team is ranked third in the state behind Byrnes and Goose Creek. “Nation Ford can score a lot of points and offensively we were gonna have to control the ball.”

They did that thanks to the solid performance from Blake. He completed 20-of-33 passes for 251 yards and three touchdowns, and more importantly, only turned the ball over once. Blake showed good passing ability, especially on a 32-yard touchdown dart to Kyle Brandt in the back of the end zone that put South Pointe ahead 29-7 in the second half.

An insatiable run game eased Blake’s night too. Senior C.J. Pendergrass racked up 118 yards and a touchdown on just 12 carries and junior bruiser Josh Brice added 71 yards on 13 touches. The two combined for three rushing scores and more than made up for Pearson’s absence.

“A playmaker like Devin goes out, you always gotta have other guys step up and we were able to do that,” said Pendergrass. “We can’t get healthier but we can always get tougher. Hit the weight room this week, have other players keep stepping up.”

South Pointe’s offense hardly missed Pearson, and its defense barely missed Rodney, who left the game early with a hyper-extended left elbow. His return for next week’s game against Rock Hill is questionable at best.

Cody Blake and Anthony Johnson had two interceptions each to lead an aggressive Stallions’ secondary. Dijuan Ussery took a short pass and blazed through South Pointe’s defensive backfield to tie the score at 7-7. It was an eye-opener for the Stallions’ secondary, which played almost perfectly the rest of the way.

“It was a big wakeup,” said Cody Blake, “because we couldn’t get our hands on him, he’s real fast.”

Helms’ six interceptions were more than he’d throw all season, as the Falcons got off to a 5-1 start, the best in school history. But Helms and the Nation Ford traveling support might have known it was to be a rough night when Devin Starnes intercepted the junior on the game’s first play. The Falcons were able to pop the ball out of Starnes’ grasp and recover in the end zone for a touchback, but it was a play with more than a hint of omen about it.

South Pointe claimed the opening lead with an imposing 11-play drive capped off by Pendergrass’ 1-yard touchdown run. It took Nation Ford one minute to tie the game. A.K. McCoy’s kickoff return got the Falcons near midfield and Dalton Helms hit Ussery with a short slant that the speedy senior took 45 yards to the end zone.

South Pointe duly marched back down the field, but Blake threw a pick in the end zone, Brandon Cureton making the defensive play for the Falcons. The Stallions stopped Nation Ford though, stuffing a fake punt attempt before reclaiming the lead. Pendergrass ripped off a 91-yard run, only for the Falcons to hunt him down just shy of the end zone. But Josh Brice pounded in from four yards several snaps later to make it 14-7.

After Blake found Brandt in the end zone to put the Stallions up three scores, McCoy scored a 45-yard touchdown almost identical to Ussery’s first half strike. That cut the home team’s lead to 29-14 and had the Falcons thinking about a comeback. But Blake marched South Pointe right back down the field, eventually finding P.J. Heath with a short pass that the senior took into the end zone to stretch the lead to 35-14, and squeeze any accumulated wind out of the Falcons’ sails.

SOUTH POINTE 43, NATION FORD 14

Nation Ford707014
South Pointe71612843

SCORING SUMMARY

SPHS – C.J. Pendergrass 1 run (Logan Ard kick)

NFHS – Dijuan Ussery 45 pass from Dalton Helms (Corey Condron kick)

SPHS – Josh Brice 4 run (Ard kick)

SPHS – Ard 31 field goal

SPHS – Anthony Johnson 34 pass from Davonta Blake (kick blocked)

SPHS – Kyle Brandt 32 pass from Blake (kick blocked)

NFHS – A.K. McCoy 45 pass from Helms (Condron kick)

SPHS – P.J. Heath 11 pass from Blake (two-point try failed)

SPHS – Brice 2 run (Brice two-point run)

TEAM STATISTICS

NFHSSPHS
First downs1519
Rushes/yards27-15342-230
Passing11-31-620-33-1
Passing yards175251
Fumbles/lost2-02-1
Penalties/yards7-604-20

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING NFHS: Dalton Helms 14-83; Daniel Jackson 13-70; Will Visbeck 1-2. SPHS: C.J. Pendergrass 12-118; Josh Brice 13-71; Davonta Blake 16-34; Devion Williams 1-7.

PASSING NFHS: Helms 11-31-6-2.SPHS: Blake 20-33-1-3.

RECEIVING NFHS: A.K. McCoy 5-78; Dijuan Ussery 2-62; Riley Hilton 2-21; Hank Tuipulotu 2-14. SPHS: P.J. Heath 6-72; DeShawn Davis 7-54; Kyle Brandt 4-61; Anthony Johnson 3-66.

RECORDS NFHS 5-2, 2-1; SPHS 7-0, 3-0

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